Changing daily, the menus will be influenced by what Chef Maruyama decides to serve and by what ingredients are seasonally and locally available, in line with the farm-to-table approach of the restaurant. This is in adherence with the Japanese philosophies of Shun and Chisan Chisho; that food should be eaten in its proper season when the flavours are at their peak, and produced and consumed locally, to which Chef Maruyama and his team are devoted. As such, unusually for a Japanese restaurant in London, all ingredients wherever possible will be sourced from within the British Isles.
The technique of dry ageing fish in house, which will be seen at MARU, is long-established in Japan but much rarer in Western culture and gives the fish a soft, deliciously buttery texture. Fish such as tuna, brill and trout, and seafood such as squid will be aged, not unlike meat, in custom-made display fridges for between 3-8 days, in order to preserve and concentrate the flavour.
The daily changing tasting menu at MARU will be 20-courses and journey through a variety of dishes and tastes, representing the best of British ingredients with a Japanese flourish. Refined ingredients such as Perigord truffle, wagyu and caviar will be prevalent throughout, but only used to enhance the flavour, and when able to be sourced seasonally and sustainably.
Chef Taiji Maruyama
Having started his career in a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, Taiji Maruyama then moved to the UK where he worked in Nobu before becoming Head Chef at acclaimed Surrey hotel, Beaverbrook. In 2020 he joined TAKA, a luxury Japanese restaurant in Marylebone, as executive chef. His menus expertly combine a farm to table approach with “shun”, the traditional Japanese belief that food should only be eaten in season and when it is at the peak of its flavour. In February 2021, he will open MARU, his first concept-led restaurant which will serve a 20-course omakase menu.
MARU will present diners with a unique, immersive experience, serving a 20-course farm-to-table tasting menu, presented omakase style, to guests seated around an intimate counter accommodating 10 guests. The restaurant will be the first Japanese restaurant in the UK to specialise in the Japanese culinary technique of dry ageing fish which will feature predominantly on the menu.
Named after Executive Chef Taiji Maruyama’s family name, MARU means circle in Japanese, which succinctly describes the constantly evolving omakase menu that will be offered at the restaurant. Omakase, meaning “I’ll leave it up to the chef”, is the Japanese tradition of letting the chef take control of your meal. Maruyama previously worked extensively in Tokyo, as well as at NOBU, Beaverbrook and TAKA, and hopes to introduce his guests to a new way of eating at MARU.
At MARU, this principle will be taken to the next level with the chefs behind the counter serving all aspects of the meal to their guests, including the drinks, which they will also make. The omakase menu will represent an innovative take on traditional Japanese cuisine, combining British ingredients with classical training and techniques.